I read mostly non-fiction and anything about France. I enjoy edgy current fiction and historical fiction with magical twists.
From the acclaimed author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers comes a tensely drawn, spellbinding literary thriller that gets to the heart of what defines us as human beings—the singular identity we create for ourselves in the world and the myriad alternative identities that lie just below the surface.In Vendela Vida’s taut and mesmerizing novel of ideas, a woman travels to Casablanca, Morocco, on mysterious business. Almost immediately, while checking into her hotel, she is robbed, her passport and all identification stolen. The crime is investigated by the police, but the woman feels there is a strange complicity between the hotel staff and the authorities—she knows she’ll never see her possessions again.Stripped of her identity, she feels both burdened by the crime and liberated by her sudden freedom to be anyone at all. Then, a chance encounter with a film crew provides an intriguing opportunity: A producer sizes her up and asks, would she be willing to be the body-double for a movie star filming in the city? And so begins a strange journey in which she’ll become a stand-in—both on-set and off—for a reclusive celebrity who can no longer circulate freely in society while gradually moving further away from the person she was when she arrived in Morocco.Infused with vibrant, lush detail and enveloped in an intoxicating atmosphere—while barely pausing to catch its breath—The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty is a riveting, entrancing novel that explores freedom, power and the mutability of identity.
America in the 1920s was a country alive with the wild fun of jazz, speakeasies, and a new kind of woman—the flapper.Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname “Dollface.” As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entrée into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing jazz, and money to burn. She thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them until the truth comes out. Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago’s infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose. The heady life she’s living is an illusion resting on a bedrock of crime and violence unlike anything the country has ever seen before. When the good times come to an end, Vera becomes entangled in everything from bootlegging to murder. And as men from both gangs fall around her, Vera must put together the pieces of her shattered life, as Chicago hurtles toward one of the most infamous days in its history, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
The riveting, hilarious, and epic story of a prominent American family on the cusp of ruinThis extraordinary debut novel by Sophie McManus is a contemporary American tragedy of breathtaking scope: a dramatic story of pharmaceutical drug trials and Wall Street corruption; of pride and prejudice; of paranoia and office politics; of inheritance, influence, class, and power. Cecilia Somner's fate hangs in the balance. A larger-than-life heiress to a robber baron's fortune, once known for her cruel wit as much as for her tremendous generosity, CeCe is now in opulent decline. Afflicted with a rare disease and touched by mortality for the first time, her gilded, bygone values collide with an unforgiving present. Along with her troubled son, George, and his outsider wife, Iris, CeCe must face the Somners' dark legacy and the corrupting nature of wealth. As the Somner family struggles to find a solution to its troubles, the secrets and lies between CeCe, George, and Iris grow entangled. CeCe's world topples, culminating in a crime as unforgettable as it is unexpected. While no riches can put things right for the unfortunate Somners, when all is lost, they learn what life beyond the long, shimmering shadow cast by the Somner dynasty may become. The Unfortunates, hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, is most of all a meditation on love: as delusional obsession, as transformation, and ultimately as a coming to grace.
The extraordinary debut of a classical pianist turned novelist, The Sage of Waterloo is a playful retelling of a key turning point in human history and a slyly profound reflection on our place in the world. William is a white rabbit living at Hougoumont, the historic farm on the site of the Battle of Waterloo. Under the tutelage of his grandmother Old Lavender, William attunes himself to the echoes and ghosts of the battle, and through a series of adventures he comes to recognize how deeply what happened at Waterloo two hundred years before continues to reverberate. Nature, as Old Lavender says, never truly recovers from human cataclysms. Brimming with the wonder and narrative power of Andrea Barrett or Anthony Doerr and full of vivid insights about Napoleon, Wellington, and the battle itself, The Sage of Waterloo is a beguiling tale of fate, human folly, and the wisdom of the natural world."
Meet Theodosia Browning, owner of Charleston's beloved Indigo Tea Shop. Patrons love her blend of delicious tea tastings and southern hospitality. And Theo enjoys the full-bodied flavor of a town steeped in history -- and mystery... — It's tea for two hundred or so at the annual historic homes garden party. And Theodosia, as event caterer, is busy serving steaming teas and blackberry scones while guests sing her praises. But the sweet smell of success turns to suspense when an esteemed guest is found dead -- his hand clutching an empty teacup. All eyes are on Theo... who is now trying desperately to save her reputation and track down the real killer. If only she can make sense of it all--before someone else takes their last sip...
With remarkable panache and discernment, Iris Apfel combines styles, colors, textures, and patterns without regard to period, provenance, or aesthetic conventions. She is a unique style icon.Over ninety sumptuous color plates, photographed by Eric Boman, show off a selection of Apfel's extraordinary outfits on wittily posed mannequins, some sporting her trademark outsized spectacles. The originality of her style is typically revealed in her mixing of Dior haute couture with flea-market finds, Dolce & Gabbana lizard trousers with nineteenth-century ecclesiastical vestments, pink Lanvin worn with ropes of Navajo turquoise. Apfel's eclectic pieces might come from a Parisian couture house, an American thrift shop, or a North African souk, or they may have been made to her own design in a tiny studio.Detailed captions describe every aspect of the outfits, including names and dates of designers, plus full information on fabrics and accessories. A selection of audacious accessories also comes under the spotlight: a giant necklace made of bear claws, a turn-of-the-century Indian horse ornament worn as a necklace, a parrot's-head brooch in colored glass and rhinestones.The book includes an introduction by Harold Koda, director of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and an essay by Apfel herself, describing her lifelong love affair with style and illustrated with vintage photographs from her personal collection.
Paris, 1862. A young girl in a threadbare dress and green boots, hungry for experience, meets the mysterious and wealthy artist Edouard Manet. The encounter will change her and the art world forever.At seventeen, Victorine Meurent abandons her old life to become immersed in the Parisian society of dance halls and cafes, meeting writers and artists like Baudelaire and Alfred Stevens. As Manet s model, Victorine explores a world of new possibilities and stirs the artist to push the boundaries of painting in his infamous portrait Olympia, which scandalizes even the most cosmopolitan city.Manet becomes himself because of Victorine. But who does she become, that figure on the divan?Intense, erotic, and beautifully wrought, Paris Red evokes the unconventional love story of a painter and his muse that changed the history of art."
This shattering memoir by a journalist about his father’s attempt to survive the aftermath of Auschwitz in a small industrial town in Sweden won the prestigious August PrizeOn August 2, 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town to begin his life anew. Having endured the ghetto of Lodz, the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany, his final challenge is to survive the survival. In this intelligent and deeply moving book, Göran Rosenberg returns to his own childhood to tell the story of his father: walking at his side, holding his hand, trying to get close to him. It is also the story of the chasm between the world of the child, permeated by the optimism, progress, and collective oblivion of postwar Sweden, and the world of the father, darkened by the long shadows of the past.
Gene Baur, the cofounder and president of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, knows that the key to happiness lies in aligning your beliefs with your actions. In this definitive vegan and animal-friendly lifestyle guide, he and Gene Stone, author of Forks Over Knives, explore the deeply transformative experience of visiting the sanctuary and its profound effects on people’s lives. The book covers the basic tenets of Farm Sanctuary life—such as eating in harmony with your values, connecting with nature wherever you are, and reducing stress—and offers readers simple ways to incorporate these principles into their lives.Living the Farm Sanctuary Life also teaches readers how to cook and eat the Farm Sanctuary way, with 100 extraordinarily delicious recipes selected by some of the organization’s greatest fans—chefs and celebrities such as Chef AJ, Chloe Coscarelli, Emily Deschanel, and Moby. Coupled with heartwarming stories of the animals that Farm Sanctuary has saved over the years, as well as advice and ideas from some of the organization’s biggest supporters, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life is an inspiring, practical book for readers looking to improve their whole lives and the lives of those around them—both two- and four-legged.
A groundbreaking guide for women of all ages that shows women’s inherent moodiness is a strength, not a weakness As women, we learn from an early age that our moods are a problem. Bitches are moody. To succeed in life, we are told, we must have it all under control. We have to tamp down our inherent shifts in favor of a more static way of being. But our bodies are wiser than we imagine. Moods are not an annoyance to be stuffed away. They are a finely-tuned feedback system that, if heeded, can tell us how best to manage our lives. Our changing moods let us know when our bodies are primed to tackle different challenges and when we should be alert to developing problems. They help us select the right tool for each of our many jobs. If we deny our emotionality, we deny the breadth of our talents. With the right care of our inherently dynamic bodies, we can master our moods to avail ourselves of this great natural strength. Yet millions of American women are medicating away their emotions because our culture says that moodiness is a problem to be fixed. One in four of us takes a psychiatric drug. If you add sleeping pills to the mix, the statistics become considerably higher. Over-prescribed medications can have devastating consequences for women in many areas of our lives: sex, relationships, sleep, eating, focus, balance, and aging. And even if we don’t pop a pill, women everywhere are numbing their emotions with food, alcohol, and a host of addictive behaviors that deny the wisdom of our bodies and keep us from addressing the real issues that we face. Dr. Julie Holland knows there is a better way. She’s been sharing her frank and funny wisdom with her patients for years, and in Moody Bitches Dr. Holland offers readers a guide to our bodies and our moodiness that includes insider information about the pros and cons of the drugs we’re being offered, the direct link between food and mood, an honest discussion about sex, practical exercise and sleep strategies, as well as some surprising and highly effective natural therapies that can help us press the reset button on our own bodies and minds. In the tradition of Our Bodies, Our Selves, this groundbreaking guide for women of all ages will forge a much needed new path in women’s health—and offer women invaluable information on how to live better, and be more balanced, at every stage of life.
Far away from the trendy cafes, designer boutiques, and political protests and crackdowns in Moscow, the real Russia exists. Midnight in Siberia chronicles David Greene's journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, a 6,000-mile cross-country trip from Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. In quadruple-bunked cabins and stopover towns sprinkled across the country s snowy landscape, Greene speaks with ordinary Russians about how their lives have changed in the post-Soviet years.These travels offer a glimpse of the new Russia a nation that boasts open elections and newfound prosperity but continues to endure oppression, corruption, a dwindling population, and stark inequality.We follow Greene as he finds opportunity and hardship embodied in his fellow train travelers and in conversations with residents of towns throughout Siberia.We meet Svetlana, an entrepreneur who runs a small hotel in Ishim, fighting through corrupt layers of bureaucracy every day. Greene spends a joyous evening with a group of babushkas who made international headlines as runners-up at the Eurovision singing competition. They sing Beatles covers, alongside their traditional songs, finding that music and companionship can heal wounds from the past. In Novosibirsk, Greene has tea with Alexei, who runs the carpet company his mother began after the Soviet collapse and has mixed feelings about a government in which his family has done quite well. And in Chelyabinsk, a hunt for space debris after a meteorite landing leads Greene to a young man orphaned as a teenager, forced into military service, and now figuring out if any of his dreams are possible.Midnight in Siberia is a lively travel narrative filled with humor, adventure, and insight. It opens a window onto that country s complicated relationship with democracy and offers a rare look into the soul of twenty-first-century Russia."
A raucous, stunningly candid, deliriously smart diary of two years in the life of the incomparable Heidi JulavitsLike many young people, Heidi Julavits kept a diary. Decades later she found her old diaries in a storage bin, and hoped to discover the early evidence of the person (and writer) she’d since become. Instead, "The actual diaries revealed me to possess the mind of a paranoid tax auditor." The entries are daily chronicles of anxieties about grades, looks, boys, and popularity. After reading the confessions of her past self, writes Julavits, "I want to good-naturedly laugh at this person. I want to but I can't. What she wanted then is scarcely different from what I want today." Thus was born a desire to try again, to chronicle her daily life as a forty-something woman, wife, mother, and writer. The dazzling result is The Folded Clock, in which the diary form becomes a meditation on time and self, youth and aging, betrayal and loyalty, friendship and romance, faith and fate, marriage and family, desire and death, gossip and secrets, art and ambition. Concealed beneath the minute obsession with “dailiness” are sharply observed moments of cultural criticism and emotionally driven philosophical queries. In keeping with the spirit of a diary, the tone is confessional, sometimes shockingly so, as the focus shifts from the woman she wants to be to the woman she may have become. Julavits's spirited sense of humor about her foibles and misadventures, combined with her ceaseless intelligence and curiosity, explode the typically confessional diary form. The Folded Clock is as playful as it is brilliant, a tour de force by one of the most gifted prose stylists in American letters.
Although originally published separately, Patrick Modiano’s three novellas form a single, compelling whole, haunted by the same gauzy sense of place and characters. Modiano draws on his own experiences, blended with the real or invented stories of others, to present a dreamlike autobiography that is also the biography of a place. Orphaned children, mysterious parents, forgotten friends, enigmatic strangers—each appears in this three-part love song to a Paris that no longer exists. In this superb English-language translation of Afterimage, Suspended Sentences, and Flowers of Ruin, Mark Polizzotti captures not only Modiano’s distinctive narrative voice but also the matchless grace and spare beauty of his prose. Shadowed by the dark period of the Nazi Occupation, these novellas reveal Modiano’s fascination with the lost, obscure, or mysterious: a young person’s confusion over adult behavior; the repercussions of a chance encounter; the search for a missing father; the aftershock of a fatal affair. To read Modiano’s trilogy is to enter his world of uncertainties and the almost accidental way in which people find their fates.
At Whitehall Palace in 1632, the ladies at the court of Charles I are beginning to look suspiciously alike. Plump cheeks, dilated pupils, and a heightened sense of pleasure are the first signs that they have been drinking a potent new beauty tonic, Viper Wine, distilled and discreetly dispensed by the physician Lancelot Choice.Famed beauty Venetia Stanley is so extravagantly dazzling she has inspired Ben Jonson to poetry and Van Dyck to painting, provoking adoration and emulation from the masses. But now she is married and her “mid-climacteric” approaches, all that adoration has curdled to scrutiny, and she fears her powers are waning. Her devoted husband, Sir Kenelm Digby – alchemist, explorer, philosopher, courtier, and time-traveller – believes he has the means to cure wounds from a distance, but he so loves his wife that he will not make her a beauty tonic, convinced she has no need of it. From the whispering court at Whitehall, to the charlatan physicians of Eastcheap, here is a marriage in crisis, and a country on the brink of civil war. The novel takes us backstage at a glittering Inigo Jones court masque, inside a dour Puritan community, and into the Countess of Arundel's snail closet. We see a lost Rubens altarpiece and peer into Venetia’s black-wet obsidian scrying mirror. Based on real events, Viper Wine is 1632 rendered in Pop Art prose; a place to find alchemy, David Bowie, recipes for seventeenth-century beauty potions, a Borgesian unfinished library and a submarine that sails beneath the Thames.
A vibrant, intimate, hypnotic portrait of one woman's life, from an important new writerTess Lohan is the kind of woman that we meet and fail to notice every day. A single mother. A nurse. A quiet woman, who nonetheless feels things acutely — a woman with tumultuous emotions and few people to share them with.Academy Street is Mary Costello's luminous portrait of a whole life. It follows Tess from her girlhood in western Ireland through her relocation to America and her life there, concluding with a moving re-encounter with her Irish family after forty years of exile. The novel has a hypnotic pull and a steadily mounting emotional force. It speaks of disappointments but also of great joy. It shows how the signal events of the last half century affect the course of a life lived in New York City.Anne Enright has said that Costello's first collection of stories, The China Factory, "has the feel of work that refused to be abandoned; of stories that were written for the sake of getting something important right ... Her writing has the kind of urgency that the great problems demand" (The Guardian).Academy Street is driven by this same urgency. In sentence after sentence it captures the rhythm and intensity of inner life.
Dennis Lehane, the New York Times bestselling author of The Given Day and Live by Night, returns with a psychologically and morally complex novel of blood, crime, passion, and vengeance, set in Cuba and Ybor City, Florida, during World War II, in which Joe Coughlin must confront the cost of his criminal past and present.Ten years have passed since Joe Coughlin’s enemies killed his wife and destroyed his empire, and much has changed. Prohibition is dead, the world is at war again, and Joe’s son, Tomás, is growing up. Now, the former crime kingpin works as a consigliore to the Bartolo crime family, traveling between Tampa and Cuba, his wife’s homeland.A master who moves in and out of the black, white, and Cuban underworlds, Joe effortlessly mixes with Tampa’s social elite, U.S. Naval intelligence, the Lansky-Luciano mob, and the mob-financed government of Fulgencio Batista. He has everything—money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity.But success cannot protect him from the dark truth of his past—and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime of sin will finally be paid in full.Dennis Lehane vividly recreates the rise of the mob during a world at war, from a masterfully choreographed Ash Wednesday gun battle in the streets of Ybor City to a chilling, heartbreaking climax in a Cuban sugar cane field. Told with verve and skill, World Gone By is a superb work of historical fiction from one of “the most interesting and accomplished American novelists” (Washington Post) writing today.
From the acclaimed filmmaker, artist, and bestselling author of "No One Belongs Here More Than You," a spectacular debut novel that is so heartbreaking, so dirty, so tender, so funny--so Miranda July--readers will be blown away. Here is Cheryl, a tightly-wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat. She is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other people's babies. Cheryl is also obsessed with Phillip, a philandering board member at the women's self-defense non-profit where she works. She believes they've been making love for many lifetimes, though they have yet to consummate in this one. When Cheryl's bosses ask if their twenty-one-year-old daughter Clee can move into her house for a little while, Cheryl's eccentrically-ordered world explodes. And yet it is Clee--the selfish, cruel blond bombshell--who bullies Cheryl into reality and, unexpectedly, provides her the love of a lifetime. Tender, gripping, slyly hilarious, infused with raging sexual fantasies and fierce maternal love, Miranda July's first novel confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic and important voice today, and a writer for all time. "The First Bad Man" is dazzling, disorienting, and unforgettable.
The scarcely populated town of Sweetland rests on the shore of a remote Canadian island. Its slow decline finally reaches a head when the mainland government offers each islander a generous resettlement package—the sole stipulation being that everyone must leave. Fierce and enigmatic Moses Sweetland, whose ancestors founded the village, is the only one to refuse. As he watches his neighbors abandon the island, he recalls the town’s rugged history and its eccentric cast of characters. Evoking The Shipping News, Michael Crummey—one of Canada’s finest novelists—conjures up the mythical, sublime world of Sweetland’s past amid a stormbattered landscape haunted by local lore. As in his critically acclaimed novel Galore, Crummey masterfully weaves together past and present, creating in Sweetland a spectacular portrait of one man’s battle to survive as his environment vanishes around him.Praise for Galore:“A glittering, fabulist tale.”—Los Angeles Times
In this darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers, and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself—a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches.Arriving at Princeton for her freshman year, Thea Slavin finds herself alone, a stranger in a strange land. Away from her family and her Eastern European homeland for the first time, she struggles to adapt to unfamiliar American ways and the challenges of college life—including an enigmatic young man whose brooding good looks and murky past intrigue her. Drawn to the elusive Rhys and his equally handsome and mysterious brother, Jake, she ventures into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous.In this shadow world that seems to mimic Greek mythology and the Bulgarian legends of the samodivi or “wildalones”—forest witches who beguile and entrap men—Thea will discover a family secret bound to transform her forever . . . if she can accept that dead doesn't always mean gone, and love doesn't always distinguish between the two.
The Plant Healer's Path is the first of two volumes by Jesse Wolf Hardin, cofounder of Plant Healer Magazine, with enchanting tales, medicinal plant profiles and favorite herbal recipes by Kiva Rose, as well as contributions by David Hoffman, Phyllis Light, Paul Bergner and more. Hardin tackles topics vital to an effective, empowered herbal practice, including many never addressed before, with suggestions for taking control of and enjoying our lives, and tips that can benefit herbalists and non-herbalists alike. Paul Bergner says"Whether just beginning or already walking the path, The Plant Healer's Path provides a panoramic road map of the terrain - both internal and external - for any person called to healing with plants... with thought-provoking essays on the issues most important to our work," and Phyllis Light writes that this book "does more than provide a working model of herbal practice, it also addresses our hopes, our fears and concerns as herbalists, acknowledging the differences, the uniqueness that each brings to their art, craft and science. What more could we ask for?"